Chapter 11. Getting Online

The Internet elevates your PC from a simple word processor to a combination library, communication center, game platform, radio, television, and overseas slot machine. But tapping into all that good stuff depends on one thing: making the initial connection and getting onto the Internet.

This chapter’s aimed at readers who haven’t yet established their Internet connections. In the following pages, you’ll learn about the different ways your PC or laptop can reach out and join in the online fun.

Different Ways to Connect to the Internet

Your PC can connect with the Internet in a wide variety of ways. Some methods require special equipment, some require you to sign up for an Internet account, and some simply depend on where you and your PC happen to be located. You can tap into the Internet in the following ways:

  • Plug into a broadband Internet connection. The fastest pipeline to the Internet. Broadband service usually comes from your cable TV or phone service provider, piped through the same cables and wires. It’s fast, always turned on, and, according to the latest industry stats, the connection method of choice for about half of the United States. It’s available mostly in large cities, but it’s expanding quickly. Section 11.1.2 weighs the pros and cons of broadband; Section 11.2.2 shows how to hook up your PC to a broadband modem and speed onto the Internet.

  • Connect with a dial-up modem. One of the first ways to connect to the Internet, dial-up connections pull ...

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